Pet photography can be very difficult unless the animal has a trainer and has worked with a photographer in the past. By nature pets are skittish about all the overhanging lighting equipment or so many things that need to be explored. If possible I try to photograph pet in there own home or environment so the distractions are minimized. When I point my lens at a dog it usually results in 2 things, the ears drop back or the dog lunges in the direction of camera to see whats going on. Through my experience I find working with the owner or trainer to focus attention just over my shoulder works best. In some cases the animal will not even care about you, but that is rare and you must find some common ground. I have even had to disguise my camera to avoid the constant head tilt from one dog.
Get down to there level
Fill the frame
Only use a wide angle lens if you want to exaggerate the features of the animal
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